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In-person and Meal Site Update

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Expires on 8/4

In-Person Air Quality Dashboard

City Schools is re-launching the In-Person Learning Air Quality Dashboard, which provides updates on spaces used by students and staff.

Users may track air purifier and filter upgrade installation by overall location or room number. A building or classroom space is deemed “ready” if air filters or air purifiers are installed.  

Note: The dashboard reflects the needs of schools at a specific time. We continue to identify classrooms that will host in-person learning and installing purifiers in those spaces.  

As of February 19, there are 30 schools due to open on March 1 that are listed as “not ready.” City Schools expects to complete work at those schools the week of February 22. This includes some schools that were Student Learning Centers that will use learning spaces different than spaces previously used.

The original version of this dashboard was launched during the first week of February 2021. However, City Schools quickly determined the dashboard did not accurately illustrate air quality upgrades and building readiness – it displayed zero spaces as “ready” despite a significant number with the required air filters or air purifiers installed. Based on internal and external feedback, the original dashboard created an inaccurate perception of no progress, which was not correct.   

The revised dashboard reorganizes existing data to illustrate a more comprehensive understanding of our air quality improvement efforts.  Thank you for your patience! 

Overview

City Schools has developed this In-Person Air Quality Dashboard to provide frequent updates about the air ventilation plan for schools and learning spaces that support in-person learning in buildings managed by City Schools  The dashboard includes updates about the installation of air filters and air purifiers and other important information. (NOTE Charter School staff and families: If your school operates from a non-City Schools-managed building, your school’s indoor air quality plan is on the dashboard. However, please contact the school for an update on the status of that plan.) 

The district plans to complete the installation of upgraded air filters and air purifiers before schools open for the second semester of the 2020-2021 school year. City Schools is proceeding aggressively to ensure that all identified instructional spaces will be serviced by an upgraded filter or air purifiers. Where filter upgrades are not complete, air purifiers are in our inventory to support those spaces until filter upgrades are complete. Any area not being serviced by an upgraded filter or air purifiers will not be used for instruction. 

Buildings and spaces used for in-person learning are ready for students and staff when: 

  • MERV 13 FILTER UPGRADE COMPLETE in a building where the existing mechanical ventilation system CAN operate with a MERV 13 filter (a higher efficiency filter) 
  • MERV 13 FILTER UPGRADE COMPLETE in a building where the existing mechanical ventilation system in an individual space CANNOT operate with a MERV 13 filter (a higher efficiency filter) and an air purifier is required and installed 
  • MERV 13 FILTER UPGRADE IN PROGRESS in a building and an air purifier is installed in that instructional space until the filter upgrade is complete. 
  • AIR PURIFIER INSTALLED in instructional spaces. 

Conditions for space readiness

Air Purifier installation is happening in pre-K-8 buildings February 5th – February 19th and in high schools February 22nd – March 5th. If the schedule must be adjusted, the weeks of February 22nd and March 8th will be used to ensure that all identified spaces are ready to receive students. MERV 13 filter installation is ongoing and occurs based on when filters are received in the warehouse from vendors. Schools that are being upgraded with MERV 13 filters will be given air purifiers for temporary use until their filter upgrades are complete. 

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) encourages combinations of higher efficiency mechanical filters and HEPA air purifiers to help mitigate infectious aerosol transmission.  

Each building was assessed to certify that it had a functioning mechanical ventilation system that can receive the higher-efficiency MERV 13 filter without adversely impacting system operations. Where this is not possible, room measurements were taken to provide sufficient portable HEPA air purifiers that achieve MERV 13 or better levels of performance. 

Building ventilation is only one part of a comprehensive mitigation strategy that includes all five of the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) recommended mitigation strategies for in-person instruction: 

  • Consistent and correct use of masks 
  • Social distancing to the largest extent possible 
  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette 
  • Cleaning and disinfection 
  • Contact tracing in collaboration with the local health department 

Using the Dashboard

To view the dashboard: 
  • On the image to the right, click the double arrow icon in the lower right-hand corner to enlarge the screen.
  • Select the school you want to view updates for in the "Program Name" section.
  • To minimize the dashboard, press the “esc” button on your keyboard.
Indoor Air Quality Plan - FAQ
What is the indoor air quality plan for all City School Buildings (ventilation plan)?

The indoor air quality plan for each school can be found in the Air Quality Dashboard:

  • 103 schools will receive MERV 13 upgrades
  • 62 schools will receive portable air purifiers (most of these schools have systems that service common and administrative spaces that will receive MERV 13 filter upgrades)

Counts include charter/contract schools.

What is a mechanical ventilation system?

A system that provides better indoor air quality in homes and commercial buildings by extracting stale air and/or by supplying fresh air. Mechanical ventilation systems may include supply fans, exhaust fans, or a combination of both.

How did you determine the indoor air quality plan for each school building?

Each building was assessed by City Schools Mechanical Services and Building Maintenance staff to certify that it has a functioning mechanical ventilation system that can receive the higher-efficiency MERV 13 filter without adversely impacting system operations. Where this was not possible, ASHRAE (American Society of Heating and Refrigeration Engineers) recommends providing a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration unit which re-circulates air within the space that achieves MERV 13 or better levels of performance.

How will I know a space is ready?

Buildings and spaces used for in-person learning are ready when:

  • MERV 13 FILTER UPGRADE COMPLETE in a building where the existing mechanical ventilation system CAN operate with a MERV 13 filter (a higher efficiency filter)
  • MERV 13 FILTER UPGRADE COMPLETE in a building where the existing mechanical ventilation system in an individual space CANNOT operate with a MERV 13 filter (a higher efficiency filter) and an air purifier is required and installed
  • MERV 13 FILTER UPGRADE IN PROGRESS in a building and an air purifier is installed in that instructional space until the filter upgrade is complete.
  • AIR PURIFIER INSTALLED in instructional spaces.

Check the status of spaces on the Air Quality Dashboard

What is mechanical ventilation?

Ventilation is the intentional introduction of fresh air into a space while the stale air is removed. It is done to maintain the quality of air in that space.

Does the indoor air quality plan make it safe to occupy the building?

In conjunction with other mitigation measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing, the use of filters and air purifiers makes it safer to occupy the building. City Schools indoor air quality plan is based on ASHRAE’s and CDC’s (Center for Disease Control) recommendation to use combinations of filters and air cleaners that achieve MERV 13 or better levels of performance for air recirculated by HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Cooling) systems in high occupancy spaces. Air purifiers are recommended when a filter upgrade is not possible.

How effective are MERV 13 filters? Air purifiers?

Both MERV 13 filters and air purifiers are effective at filtering out coronavirus particles:

  • MERV 13 filters efficiently capture 80-90% of the aerosol that could carry infectious virus particles
  • Air purifiers with HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters efficiently capture 99.97% of the aerosol that could carry infectious virus particles

By themselves, filters and air purifiers are not enough. Face covering, social distancing, and hand hygiene protocols are crucial to providing additional layers of protection.

merv 13 filters

The building is supposed to have MERV 13 filter upgrades throughout the building. Why are filters not installed yet?

City Schools is installing filters as they are delivered. Although City Schools placed orders months ago, manufacturers have had challenges with keeping pace with orders due to nationwide demand for MERV 13 filters, reduced workforce because of quarantine and positive COVID cases and material shortage for production. These factors contribute to unpredictable delivery times and delay full installation in our school buildings. Air purifiers will temporarily be installed in buildings set to receive MERV 13 upgrades until filter installation is complete.

merv 13 - filters

How frequently will filters be changed?

MERV 13 and air purifier filters will be changed quarterly. This is tracked with works orders that are auto-generated through our work order system, SchoolDude.

Who will replace filters and does the district have this capacity?

The district has an in-house team dedicated to changing filters throughout the district year-round and uses mechanical contractors to support the work during routine preventive maintenance.

What is the process for repairing a broken air purifier? What will happen to the classroom/students in that classroom with that air purifiers during the repair?

This is considered an emergency and the school administrator should call their HVAC Project Supervisor and submit a work order in SchoolDude selecting the craft “Indoor Air Quality.” A replacement air purifier will be installed within 24 hours from the time that Mechanical Services receives the notification. Schools should move occupants to one of their identified backup rooms.

Is it okay to open windows and doors in a classroom? If windows don't open, are staff students at increased risk?

When weather and air quality conditions allow, check with school administrators about increasing fresh outdoor air by opening windows and doors. Do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk for students (e.g., risk of falling, triggering asthma symptoms).

An air purifier can clean the air with the windows open, but it cannot work as well as it would with the room sealed. Leaving a window open means the air purifier is not just cleaning the air in the room. It must also clean the air entering the room from the outdoors as well and will never have fully purified air inside. When we limit the amount of air an air purifier must clean, we increase its efficiency and the amount of time it will take to freshen an entire room.

How do buildings designed with windows that do not open get fresh air exchange?

The HVAC system installed in the building is designed to provide fresh air exchange.

What additional steps has City Schools taken to improve indoor air quality?

Mechanical Services meets with health and HVAC professionals regularly to advise of recommended practices from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and ASHRAE. Mechanical Services also continues to perform routine preventive maintenance on HVAC systems and has made repairs to unit ventilators, which are mechanical devices that circulate conditioned air to spaces (typically classrooms); exhaust fans, which are mechanical devices that removes stale indoor air from a space (typically only found in bathrooms where windows are not operable for safety reasons); and supply fans, which are mechanical devices that deliver air to a space.

Will the old buildings in the district be able to bear the electrical load of multiple air purifiers in instructional spaces?

Yes, buildings will be able to accommodate the additional load from air purifiers. Most HEPA air purifiers consume around 50- 100 watts per hour compared to the general power of a standard light bulb of 60-100 watts, a laptop computer of 50- 100 watts, or an electric heater of 2000-3000 watts. Air purifiers are much more energy-efficient than most popular electric devices.

The building is supposed to have MERV 13 filter upgrades throughout the building. Why are filters not installed yet?

City Schools is installing filters as they are delivered. Although City Schools placed orders months ago, manufacturers have had challenges with keeping pace with orders due to nationwide demand for MERV 13 filters, reduced workforce because of quarantine and positive COVID cases, and material shortage for production. These factors contribute to unpredictable delivery times and delay full installation in our school buildings. Air purifiers will temporarily be installed in buildings set to receive MERV 13 upgrades until filter installation is complete.